I have today published an important work on Coptic phonology on my sister blog http://copticsounds.wordpress.com. The mission statement of Copticsounds is to make rare scholarly works on Coptic phonology available to a wide online audience. There are dozens of such publications already digitised on the website, of which Emile Maher Ishak’s D.Phil thesis is a valuable addition.


Today I have the great pleasure of publishing one of the most important works on Coptic phonology, which sadly for many years has been unavailable but to a few. In 1975, Emile Maher Ishak (now Fr. Shenouda Maher Ishak of Rochester, New York) completed his D.Phil thesis  at the University of Oxford entitled ‘The phonetics and phonology of the Bohairic dialect of Coptic and the survival of Coptic words in the colloquial and Classical Arabic of Egypt and of Coptic grammatical constructions in colloquial Egyptian Arabic’. The thesis, running to 2,130 pages and divided in four volumes, is to date the most exhaustive study of Bohairic phonology.

The thesis is in fact two works. The first (volumes I and II) is a staunch defence of the traditional pronunciation of Bohairic, which the author considers to be genuine in opposition to the modern reformed pronunciation introduced in AD 1858 by…

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